Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Crystal Pepsi Questionnaire

Okay, I had my coworker close her eyes and draw a name from my lunch box (I don't wear a hat), and she picked Shelly. You win an ARC of Cutting Loose, signed by Nadine Dajani herself! Shoot me an email (jess(at) and I'll hook you up.

That was fun! We should do that more often. But first, some photos from last week at the Wisconsin Book Festival:

Me, Danielle Younge-Ullman, and Gail Konop-Baker at The Orpheum in Madison. They have delicious red wine, but it is apparently so strong it gives you the illusion that your kidneys are trying to run away from your body, so you must hold them in when you pose for photos.

Stacks O'Books at A Room of One's Own Feminist Bookstore, where the sh*t went down. (And by that I mean 'profanity-laced readings' from all three of us. Kidding just a little bit.)

I'm back at work full-time now, so of course my muse has been yammering away like mad. He's like a fickle boyfriend that way--when I have time for him and want some attention, he's distant and evasive. When I'm too busy for him, THEN he wants to hold hands and talk all night and shop for a snowblower together. So I've got tons of ideas swirling around my brain, but more limited time in which to explore them on paper. As I attempt to winnow them into some semblance of order, I'm recognizing certain storylines that sound too familiar to me, so I immediately scratch them off the list.

The problem with avoiding the familiar is that I end up going too far in wild, even risky directions. You have to strike a balance between 'different' but 'not too different.' (Remember Crystal Pepsi, anyone? Way too different.)

Anyway, I do want to avoid cliched storylines. What are some that drive you nuts? What plots in books and movies are you sick of seeing?

I recently heard that during past recessions, the public's taste in music veered away from fun pop songs to longer, slower, more emotional songs. (Think Air Supply vs. Britney Spears.) Which brings me to my final question: in tougher economic times, what do you want to read? Something light and escapist or something darker and a bit more serious?

Also, did you ever actually ever DRINK Crystal Pepsi?


  1. WHOOO-HOOO!! I emailed you, please let me know if you didn't get it. I'm thrilled because that sounds like an awesome book!

  2. Junebug-I am all for more books about Jewish American Princesses and hypochondria. Know of any?

    And I did try Diet Crystal Pepsi once, on a dare. The folks at Pepsi must have had a little too much time on their hands. I hope that inventor never worked in the industry again!!!!

  3. Crystal Pepsi is scary. The Orpheum, however, is awesomely beautiful. Sounds like you had a fantastic weekend. :)

  4. I think during tough economic times, comfort reads come back. For me, that means historicals and uplifting reads like Harry Potter.

    And I think oft-done storylines can be done if they're done well. One of my favorite movies is Ever After with Drew Barrymore. Wonderful re-telling of the Cinderella story! And if anybody can take a story and twist it, it's you! :)

  5. I wish I could have been at your kidney injuring red wine fest!

  6. During economic hardtimes, which is the perfect description of my life at the moment (being unemployed and such), I read a lot of cookbooks (because I love to cook and can't afford the fancy restaurants), self-help books (because I have the time to put myself under a microscope) and anything that makes me laugh (to get my mind off my problems).

    Currently, I am reading a book entitled "Help Me, Help Myself" a look at a writer who captures her experience of a year of different self-help books/methods. I also got the new Martha Stewart Cooking School cookbook in the mail today --- I have a feeling I might find that book a bit funny as well.

  7. Ooh, LMB, are you referring to Beth Lisick's latest?? That's been on my wish list for AGES!!

  8. Jess - Yup. That's the book. It's a fun read and I'd recommend it.

    If you love to people watch, you'll love her description of the people that show up at the seminars/conventions and cruises she goes on.

  9. Plucky young girl nets high-powered man through the magic of her song stylings.

    I'm pretty much sick of that plot line.

  10. Never touched Crystal Pepsi. Or Zima. I'm so sick of vampires. Sick to freaking death. Especially when Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was pure genius and really? Dracula has to be the fad? C'mon!

  11. Crystal Pepsi, Crystal say Tomato, I say Tomahto.

    I've actually been reading a bunch of dystopian fiction written in the 80s, stuff by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson. It's dark and brooding, which helps set the mood for when I call my broker. (I think he works at Subway now).

  12. I like to read Jennifer Crusie at all times, but especially when times are rough - not just from an economic standpoint. Her books make me laugh and forget what is going on around me.

  13. Something light but substantial. I mean, a feel-good book that's not all cotton candy. Should be simple, right? :-)

    Of course no one ever drank that Crystal Pepsi.

  14. Oh my gosh, I'm not the only one who can't write when I have time to write! That's strangely soothing. I'm about to go back to work after a hiatus, and I know that first thing Monday morning I'll ready to write up a storm.

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